Clinton Engages in Fear Mongering

29 02 2008

If you vote for Obama, your children will die in a nuclear holocaust.  Or so the Clinton campaign would have you believe.





1 in 99 Americans Behind Bars

29 02 2008

From the Huffington Post:

NEW YORK — For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America’s rank as the world’s No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars. . . .

“For some groups, the incarceration numbers are especially startling,” the report said. “While one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine.”

Wow.  Either we put people behind bars who should not be (which we do) or we are a violent, thieving culture (which we are). 

The first scenario is easy enough to account for (harder to fix though).  Overzealous conservative douche-bags decided that we need to put non-violent small time offenders of all types behind bars.  With new politicians and new legislation we can reform this problem.

But it also has to be said that American culture is simply more violent than it needs to be.  This can only be changed through a cultural shift (a slow process that is near impossible to inspire).  To be sure I’m not speaking of violent media.  Bring it on.  I’m talking about the general animosity there exists among strangers out there in the US.  Random acts of cruelty that have no explanation.

 I mean you know what I’m talking about.  According to the new study you’re probably in jail yourself.

The article also talks about the economic trouble this creates.  Four states spend more on corrections than higher education.  What can you say, more bars, thicker walls.

 

The ultimate in voyeurism, Statesville Correctional Centre in Crest Hill, Illinois, is a panopticon.  The central guard tower allows for one guard to see into every cell, and the lighting ensures that the prisoner never knows where the guard is looking.  Big brother is watching.





Religious Statistics in the United States

26 02 2008

  The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has a new report out which reveals some interesting trends in the American religious landscape.

Here are some interesting survey highlights:

  • – Men are significantly more likely than women to claim no religious affiliation. Nearly one-in-five men say they have no formal religious affiliation, compared with roughly 13% of women.
  • – Among people who are married, nearly four-in-ten (37%) are married to a spouse with a different religious affiliation. (This figure includes Protestants who are married to another Protestant from a different denominational family, such as a Baptist who is married to a Methodist.) Hindus and Mormons are the most likely to be married (78% and 71%, respectively) and to be married to someone of the same religion (90% and 83%, respectively).
  • – Mormons and Muslims are the groups with the largest families; more than one-in-five Mormon adults and 15% of Muslim adults in the U.S. have three or more children living at home.
  • – The Midwest most closely resembles the religious makeup of the overall population. The South, by a wide margin, has the heaviest concentration of members of evangelical Protestant churches. The Northeast has the greatest concentration of Catholics, and the West has the largest proportion of unaffiliated people, including the largest proportion of atheists and agnostics.
  • – Of all the major racial and ethnic groups in the United States, black Americans are the most likely to report a formal religious affiliation. Even among those blacks who are unaffiliated, three-in-four belong to the “religious unaffiliated” category (that is, they say that religion is either somewhat or very important in their lives), compared with slightly more than one-third of the unaffiliated population overall.
  • – Nearly half of Hindus in the U.S., one-third of Jews and a quarter of Buddhists have obtained post-graduate education, compared with only about one-in-ten of the adult population overall. Hindus and Jews are also much more likely than other groups to report high income levels.
  • – People not affiliated with any particular religion stand out for their relative youth compared with other religious traditions. Among the unaffiliated, 31% are under age 30 and 71% are under age 50. Comparable numbers for the overall adult population are 20% and 59%, respectively.
  • By contrast, members of mainline Protestant churches and Jews are older, on average, than members of other groups. Roughly half of Jews and members of mainline churches are age 50 and older, compared with approximately four-in-ten American adults overall.
  • In sharp contrast to Islam and Hinduism, Buddhism in the U.S. is primarily made up of native-born adherents, whites and converts. Only one-in-three American Buddhists describe their race as Asian, while nearly three-in-four Buddhists say they are converts to Buddhism.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of any religious tradition. Only 37% of all those who say they were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses still identify themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Members of Baptist churches account for one-third of all Protestants and close to one-fifth of the total U.S. adult population. Baptists also account for nearly two-thirds of members of historically black Protestant churches.

This is a huge report and has a lot of information in it, so I highly suggest taking a look at it.  I’ll break down some of the info, with my analysis, in the coming days.





Huckabee Thinks Eggs are People

26 02 2008

That’s right.  This from the Huffington Post:

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on Monday endorsed a proposed Colorado Human Life Amendment that would define personhood as a fertilized egg.

There is no reason to protect life (well, humans’ at least, who are not on the verge of extinction) unless it is to prevent suffering.  A fertilized egg is nothing more than a mass of cells (none of which are comparable to our nerve cells). 

But what about the soul you ask?  Show me scientific evidence that it exists (either at fertilization or at adulthood) and I’ll say it might be worth protecting.  Might.

I’m always embarrassed to read these stories that come from my home state – the square state with a giant festering sore on it’s face that is Colorado Springs – the location of Focus on the Family.  How do we know that people in Focus on the Family are humans anyway?  They don’t exhibit the intelligence that usually is the measure of a man.  If some of then had been aborted I dare say this world might be a better place.  There, I said it.





Quote of the Day – Fidel Castro

20 02 2008

They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?

Fidel Castro





The Feminist Presidential Quandary

19 02 2008

This article from Boston.com got me thinking about feminist support for Hillary Clinton.  It seems I’ve heard a lot from feminists this primary season, both good and bad. 

 I’ve heard a lot explain why Mrs. Clinton would be the best candidate – and that I can respect, even though I may disagree.

I’ve also heard a lot of stories of women who are voting for Mrs. Clinton because she is a woman.

And that’s when I thought to myself: “Self, what the fuck?”

I’m a feminist if nothing else.  Well, okay, I’m a lot of things other than a feminist, but I am a feminist nonetheless.  It strikes me to be blatantly anti-feminist to support Hillary Clinton based solely on the fact that she is a woman.  I was under the impression that the idea behind feminism was to establish the equality of women – not their superiority.  Thus, it is great that for the first time a woman has a real chance at being the next president of the United States, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to blindly vote for her and not look at the other candidates.  If I thought she would be the best person for the job, I’d vote for her.  But just because I don’t happen to think she would be the best person for the job does not mean that somehow I’m sexist.

As equals, I shall make my decision on the candidates’ stances on the issues, on their ability to lead and to unite, and ignore their gender.  I don’t care about gender, skin color, or the like and my voting will reflect that. 

So I urge the feminists who have not already done so, to consider their other options, despite their gender.

There is also a good opinion piece about this issue here.





Fidel Castro Resigns; World Shrugs

19 02 2008

From the NYT:

MEXICO CITY — Fidel Castro stepped down Tuesday morning as the president of Cuba after a long illness. The announcement was made in a letter to the nation written by Mr. Castro and published early Tuesday morning on the Web site of Granma, the official publication of the Cuban Communist Party.

I’m no expert in Cuba, Cuban politics, or anything even slightly related to said subjects, but I am a pessimist, so I can safely suggest that Castro stepping down will change absolutely nothing.  He says he plans to remain active in politics through his writings.  Change is far more likely to occur once he keels over.  His brother will likely stay in command, along with most of the ‘old guard’.